Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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In pain but conscious
Monday February 05, 2007

Dear Alice,

I am pleased to see your never tiring efforts to respond to all of us that write to you. I first read about you on an Italian newspaper perhaps just over two decades ago and went out to buy your books that had been translated into Italian. I already was frustrated for my children as I could see the "mud" I had gotten myself and my children into. I will not go to detail now, but I am trying to help them by not disorienting the approach to treatment, particularly the girl whose pain is unbearable. The problem is it has been hard to find the right therapist also because my children (grown ups now, the boy is 26 and the girl is 28) speak mainly italian with very very little english. I am African and have lived in Italy since end of 1976. Emotional blindness is universal, but probably they stand a better chance of having an enlightened witness because of the extended family culture.

There is probably a possibility of someone practicing Peter Levine's treatment of trauma (he has given training in Italy). Have you ever read some of his works and what do you think? The description is so technical and clinical but I get no emotion in the description of the treatment. The tragedy of maltreatment in children due to whatever (emotion blindness, etc.) is just unacceptable and fully comprehend your writings. How to approach educating parents remains a big job and many well meaning parents are confronted with a terrible guilt feeling on damage done to their siblings unawaringly. A healthy parent/person is sane and loving, therefore, I cannot but state that those that hurt their children are simply insane.

My warmest regards, M. C.

AM: I agree with you when you write: I cannot but state that those that hurt their children are simply insane. But I must add that they became like this because they were beaten as small children and then learned to believe that this madness was okay. I think that parents, who, like you now, can understand how hurtfully they have treated their children, can tell them that it was wrong and apologize. In this way, they can help them to become conscious BEFORE they have children of their own. They may not accept these apologies if they are in denial, but at least one can try.

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